♪ austin austin ♪ this is "nightline." >> trouble for trers. $79 for an oceanfront room with a private hot tub? watch out. when a deal sounds like it's too good to be true it might be. how third-party sites may cause problems for hotels and customers, leaving you out in the cold. no excuses. he's a fan favorite on "dancing with the stars." but noah galloway has come a long way to get to this stage. tonight his journey out of depression finding joy in family, and now the new purpose that keeps him going. what's it like to be buried alive? for this man, he actually knows the answer. now he's sharing his remarkable survival story. but first the "nightline 5."
girl plays in the background ♪ a great entrance never goes out of style. dresses start at $25. the eva mendes collection. exclusively at new york and company. good evening. thank you for joining us. whether it's for vacation or special occasion at home lots of us love scouring the web for discounts. many of those come from third-party sites that can lead to confusion or other costs you never saw coming. how can you protect yourself from that irresistible sweet deal?
here's abc's rebecca jarvis. >> reporter: it's a roaring good time. the 74th annual bike week in daytona beach, florida. and for hotel owners like merrill, it's the highlight of the year. >> very busy. it's extremely busy. we get booked fully booked weeks and weeks in advance. >> reporter: which is why she was surprised when a couple walked in that week with a reservation for two nights at a rate of $79. >> the rates are around $200 a night at that time. and we were really shocked and thought, oh my gosh we don't have a room for them. and look at the rate that they have. >> reporter: she owns the flamingo inn, a daytona beach mainstay for over 30 years. when she checked the couple's reservation it showed the room hadn't been booked with the hotel -- it was reserved through reservationcounter.com, an online agency she had never heard of. >> there were more people. >> reporter: seven couples in
all, including kevin childress and his wife, who drove from baltimore, maryland, expecting an oceanfront room and their own private hot tub. >> we don't have a room with a hot tub, we don't have a hot tub inside, we don't have a hot tub outside. we are a reasonable priced hotel. >> reporter: childress told abc news he thought he booked herewith room directly with flamingo inn when he called a reservation number from what he says appeared to be the official hotel site. he noticed his e-mail confirmation wasn't sent by the hotel and learned it was from a third-party site. >> they were enraged. i felt very bad about it. but you know that is not our job, to police people online. >> we started to hear about the problem a few years ago. but in recent times, it has absolutely skyrocketed. >> reporter: katherine lugar, president and ceo of the american hotel and lodging
association, says there's been an alarming uptick in complaint friday consumers who say they believed they were booking with the hotel, only to find out later they'd given their information to a third-party agency. so what exactly are these third-party sites? today, 14% of all hotel rooms sold are booked online. amounting to about $23 billion a year. the majority of these rooms are reserved through online travel agencies like expedia.com, priceline.com, and booking.com. which get their inventory from hotels and other resources. but there's also a second tier of booking sites affiliated with the big-name agencies. also offering hotel rooms for sale. this is where lugar says we run into trouble. >> many of whom actually look a lot like the hotel site, but in fact, they're not. >> reporter: these third-party sites can show up in search results as paid ads and when consumers book a room through these sites, often unwittingly.
common complaints include confusing cancelation and refund policies. ignored requests for disabled or special accommodations. lost or misbooked reservations. which turns out what happened to those guests at the flamingo inn. reservationcounter.com says it experienced a system error that misdirect the flamingo inn bookings to a quality inn in north carolina stranding the customers. >> this was a mistake, a glitch in the system. they promised they had all problems solved and i believed them. >> reporter: customers have been refunded. she points out the trouble could have been avoided if they had dealt with the hotel directly. but are xhourconsumers just being careless and naive in their web searches? i'm going to try booking the hilton in providence by doing a google search. we searched for providence hilton reservations and came up with three sites.
all three had the hotel name in their web address. >> it's the first thing you see in the address is "hilton." you'd assume that's the hilton. turns out, only this one belongs to hilton proper. it's not difficult to see why consumers are confused by what are sometimes called mirrored sites. they use the same logo and pictures putting the hotel brand front and center while keeping its own discreet. >> i can't imagine if you're the average traveler that you would think this is anything but the hilltop providence. >> reporter: in fact almost 2.5 million potentially confusing bookings are made on third-party sites each year according to the ahla. debbie, a frequent traveler and mother of two, said she booked with a third-party site that not only charged her up front for the wrong hotel but refused her request for a refund. like many before her, she called what she thought was a hotel's
direct reservation line. >> i specifically said, is this marriott reservations center? she said this is reservations, i can help you. >> reporter: she booked the room. when a schedule change forced her to call the hotel to cancel -- >> they couldn't find my reservation. she said i didn't book it with marriott reservations. >> reporter: she was told if she'd booked with them they would have refunded immediately. because she didn't book with them directly there was nothing they could do. >> bait and switch. if i'm fooled the average consumer doesn't stand a chance. >> reporter: we tracked down the folks behind reservationcounter.com and reservationdesk.com. those sites that have pages that seemingly so closely resemble official hotel sites. to ask them if their site design is deliberate. if they're trying to pass themselves off as official hotel sites. daniel nelson, ceo of travel pass, the company that owns and operates reservationcounter.com and reservationdesk.com, tell
abc news it is not their intent to mislead the customer. the goal of the site is to make prominent the customer's hotel choice. in other words, he says, if i'm selling a lexus and you tell me you want a lexus, why would i show you a honda? none of this is illegal. and according to nelson, his company books millions of rooms per year with customer complaints measureing .003% of all processed transactions. our goal is to respond to and close all complaints within 24 hours. if no issues come up the customer who unwittingly booked a room through a third-party site is really none the wiser. but it's a risk the ahla doesn't think consumers should have to take. which is why it's asking the ftc to open an investigation into these third-party sites and set stricter guidelines. >> consumers should know who they're booking with. the ftc has that regulatory responsibility and oversight function. to ensure that consumers are not
being misled. >> reporter: since we contacted reservationcounter.com and reservationdesk.com, the pages for hilton in providence that so closely resemble the official hotel site have apparently been taken down. and expedia tells abc news that it's taking customer feedback seriously and will regularly review our affiliates to ensure they are acting in the best interests of the travelers they serve. but for folks like debbie green span, she says she can only watch out for herself. >> if i could talk to one of those third-party reservation centers, reservation companies, right now that misrepresent themselves, i would say, shame on you. that's not going to happen again. not to me. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm rebecca jarvis in providence, rhode island. next he may not look like the other contestants on "dancing with the stars." but tonight noah galloway talks finding strength any way he can. pain.
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beneath all the razzle dazzle you see on "dancing with the stars," every contestant is pushing through some measure of next show. for the one you're about to meet the frustrations of training are decidedly different. he's doing everything the others are but with half as many limbs. he's got an entire nation cheering for them. here's abc's brandi hitt. ♪ >> reporter: amid all the twists and turns on this sizzling season of "dancing with the stars," one competitor is inspiring a nation. >> my hero.
>> reporter: double amputee noah galloway is working hard with each kick, shake and lift. >> what's been the big challenge? >> because i don't have the -- you know, the left side is a little stiffer. >> reporter: the 33-year-old lost his left leg and arm fighting in iraq. it's fighting spirit that transformed this wounded veteran into an astounding athlete, into the national spotlight, making this cover of "men's health" magazine. >> i can't lean into this. >> were you a big dancer before your injury? >> no, no, not at all. >> reporter: in fact noah never imagined he'd end up here, dancing on a reality television show. born into a military family, noah had no interest in joining the armed forces. that was until september 11th, watching the world trade center burn. >> i remember seeing that on the news. i went for a long run. and i didn't see it as a career
decision. i saw it as where i needed to be in my life. i was 20 years old, physically fit. i knew that our country had fallen under attack and we were going to do something about it. i immediately went and enlists in the army. >> that day? >> yeah right then. >> reporter: noah applied for special forces training and in 2005, during his second deployment to iraq he was selected to return to the u.s. for the school portion of that training. >> i said, i'm not leaving this deployment to go to school. i said that can happen after. i turned it away. two, three weeks later we were in a convoy and i hit a trip wire. and it hit my door. i don't remember any of it. >> reporter: an ied blew noah's armored humvee into a canal. everyone inside survived. but noah woke up six days later on christmas day in the hospital, unsure of what had happened. >> it was my mom explained to me
that i lost my left arm, left leg above the knee, severe injuries to my right leg. i felt -- i was a physical person, i'd found a career. then i woke up one day, it was all gone. and that was really hard for me to deal with. >> reporter: and his long road to recovery quickly turned into a deep depression. >> i'd go out in public, everybody thought i was fine. then when i was at home i would sit around i would drink. one day, the kids looked in the mirror and i said, i've got two limbs left. i can do something with this. >> reporter: that something was retraining his body and mindset. the father of three started working out in 2010. then came obstacle races, mud runs, and marathons. his new motto, "no excuses." all that hard work earning noah the title of "men's health" magazine's 2014 ultimate men's health guy. >> i kept challenging myself. and it became -- i just wanted a new challenge every day. >> reporter: this latest challenge, one of his toughest
yet. >> why did you want to do "dancing with the stars"? >> i'd never considered it. it was never on my radar. it was much different than any marathon i've ever run or mountain i've climbed. i'm always telling people to step out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves. and this is way out of my comfort zone. >> reporter: noah also isn't the first double amputee celebrity dancer. snowboarder amy purdy stole the show in season 18 spinning her way to second place. >> they said we had amy purdy on. i was like she's amazing, i saw her, that's great, but different injuries. she has her knees, i don't. >> reporter: that's also a challenge for noah's professional dance partner. >> what has been the biggest challenge for you in teaching this guy to dance? >> noah concentrates so hard on the movement and he's such a perfectionist that if he feels he does a step wrong, he really lets it affect him. whereas you can't do that on the dance floor. you have to sell it fake it till you make it. >> reporter: with this week as argentine tango, noah used his
strength to perform one-handed lifts to wow the judges. and the lift. his three children also seen in the crowd this season cheering their father on. >> they're very excited about it. when i look over and i'm seeing my sons -- they were so overjoyed and proud. it's amazing. >> reporter: america is touched by noah's bond with his girlfriend jamie boyd. he dedicated this dance to his alabama sweetheart. in return, she surprised him on live television. the two met on jamie's radio show three years ago. >> i remember when i saw her i was like, wow, who is that? i want to talk her into going out on a date with me. it kept growing from there. >> reporter: they became friends, running races together before falling in love. >> he's just such an inspiration to me. every day. i'm just so thankful to even be in your life.
>> reporter: that inspiration, his injury and recovery will take center stage monday when noah performs an emotional routine for his most memorable year -- he chose the year he lost both limb. >> it ties into so many different things. the way i am as a father and everything that i do in my daily life revolves around that moment, how it put me in depression, but also come out of and it make life better for me and my family. >> reporter: a message noah hopes resonates with injured veterans across the country. for "nightline" i'm brandi hitt in los angeles. >> no excuses. so who will you be rooting for on monday when "dancing with the stars" airs on abc? head to our "nightline" facebook page and let us know your favorite contestant. next falling into a quicksand of corn may sound like a plot twist in a horror movie. actually it happened to this guy and he lived to tell us about it.
finally tonight, you're about to find out what it's like to fight for your life after being plunged deep into a dark and airless abyss. the villain in this story? wait for it -- corn. >> reporter: june 26th 2013. it was a sweltering summer morning in the cornfields of iowa. by all accounts a routine day for eric baker. little did he know it would almost be his last. >> on the farm you're always
around dangerous things. what i was doing is by far the most dangerous thing a farmer can do. i was completely unable to move my legs. >> 911, what is your emergency? >> i have somebody trapped in a bin of corn. >> it went completely black, pitch black. >> reporter: eric telling his story of being buried alive, part of a new abc series called "in an instant." eyewitness testimony combined with vivid recollections. >> i fell through the corn. >> reporter: eric fights for his life through the quicksand of corn. >> corn up to my knees just like that, instantly. >> reporter: eric's father sensing something is wrong calls police. >> we can't find him. the rope that he had tied to him is down in the corn. >> when we arrived on-scene these grain bins were huge. tall. >> reporter: first responders on the scene thought there was no way eric could still be alive. >> nobody can survive completely buried under drain without air
for a few minutes, let alone over an hour. >> reporter: but they didn't give up. were hethey to empty the bin -- >> i reached down reached into the corn as far as i could reach, a hand grabbed hold of my hand. >> he's alive! >> reporter: the rescuers kick into high gear and pull eric to safety. >> come on! >> that's it! breathe, just breathe. >> i collapsed and started bawling. >> when you find out he's in there it's the worst moment of your life. when you see him coming out the door, it was probably the greatest moment of my life. >> wow. you can watch a brand-new episode of "in an instant" tomorrow night at 9:00 right here on abc. it was hunter thompson who said luck is a very thin wire between survival and disaster. not many people can keep their balance on it. thank you for watching abc news.
tune into "good morning america" tomorrow. as always, we're online at abcnews.com. good night, america. ray: hey, ma. marie: hello, dear. whatcha doin' there? oh, this? this is called "polishing silver." yeah, i know that. it's just that we don't ofn see your silver. please, stop hinting debra. the silver's going to robbie. it's already in the will. is this for lee and stan's anniversary party? their forty-fifth. they're our dearest friends, but i have to tell you i never ought they'd last this long.
frank: where you goin', robert? what's goin' on in tre? robbie is helping your father write a funny speech for lee and stan. frank: get back here! we're not done! oh, we're done, old man! fine, fine! i don't need your help anymore! marie, i'm not doing the stupid speech. it's the one thing you have to do for the party! well now the one thing i have to do is eat shrimp. you have to write something. they're our dearest friends. to hell with them. you're impossible! would you talk to him? he has to write something, otherwise-- raymond... ma, don't even think of it. raymond... back! back! back! uh-uh-uh--read the will.